As a lone childminder, I am the lead safeguarding practitioner for my setting. According to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) ‘…providers must have and implement a policy, and procedures, to safeguard children…’
My first and main priority is for the children who are under my care whilst at home and in public. I must ensure my care is paramount. If I have any concerns, I will report them immediately to the relevant people as per the advice given by my Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) procedures and advice. The name of my LSCB is Central Bedfordshire Local Safeguarding Children Board, their latest procedures and briefing can be found at http://bedfordscb.proceduresonline.com/index.htm
I have undergone training so I understand that child abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, neglect, domestic or a mixture of these. I am very aware of the signs and symptoms of each area of abuse.
I am aware that I must do everything I can to prevent people being drawn into terrorism. This is referred to in the Prevent Duty. I am aware of the signs of extremism or radicalisation. If I had any concerns relating to this I would contact the Prevent Officer in Bedfordshire. The details of the Prevent Office details in Bedfordshire are; http://www.bedfordshire.police.uk/tackling_crime/counter_terrorism/prevent.aspx and also my LSCB which I have mentioned above.
It is a requirement for me to notify Ofsted of any allegations of abuse that are alleged to have taken place while the child is in my care, including any allegations against me, or any members of my family, or other adults or children in my home who have had contact with minded children.
It is an obligation that I make sure that no individual who has been deemed unsuitable to work with children has unsupervised contact with any children in my care. I have read carefully and understand the safeguarding and welfare requirements of EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage).
I will ensure children are accounted for at all times, I will check on them frequently to ensure I know where all the children are. I will check all gates and doors are locked. I will make a concerted effort when in public to ensure I can see all children at all times to ensure none of the children go missing.
I aim to share all information with parents but in some instances (where I am worried about a child’s wellbeing) I may have to refer concerns without discussing this with you. I will make sure that I work together with parents to make sure the care of their child is consistent.
Children who are in my care will only be released from my care with individuals other than the parents/carer or to someone names and authorised with a safe word by the parent.
A safe word will need to be agreed between us to confirm identity if the person collecting the child is not previously known to me. Children who are in my care will not be released into the care of anyone that I feel is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Upon drop-off parents need to notify me of any concerns they have about their child – this includes any accidents, incidents or injuries affecting the child, which I will record and ask parents to sign.
Unless I believe that it would put the child at risk of further harm, I will discuss concerns with a child’s parent if I notice:
· major changes in children’s behaviour;
· children’s general well-being deteriorating;
· unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect;
· children’s or parents’ comments which give cause for concern, including expressing extremist views;
· any reasons to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting, for example in the child’s home;
I understand the barriers that could be presented when recognising the signs of abuse and neglect of children who have special educational needs and/or disabilities.
If a child tells me that they or another child is being abused, I will show that I have heard what they are saying and explain that I take their allegations seriously. I encourage the child to talk to me, but I will not prompt them or ask them leading questions. I will not interrupt when a child is recalling significant events and will not make a child repeat their account.
I will explain to the child what actions I must take in language that they will be able to understand easily.
I will record what I have been told using exact words where possible. In the report I will make a note of the date, time, place and people who were present whilst the discussion took place.
I will call the local social services’ duty desk for advice and an assessment of the situation. I will follow the phone call up with a letter to the Duty team within 48 hours. I will record the concern and all contact with Children’s Services thereafter. (Access and referral number: 0300 3008585)
If an allegation is made against me, any member of my family, or any other adult or child in my setting I will report it to Ofsted and the Local Authority designated officer or team of officers, following the Local Safeguarding Children Board procedures. I will also contact PACEY’s Helpline for advice and support.
In all instances, it is vital that I record information that relates to the incident so that I have the relevant information should I need to refer to it. I will record; the child’s full name and address, the date and time of the record (as it I being recorded), factual details of the concern, for example a body map showing where any bruising is present, what the child said, who was present, details of any previous concerns, details of any discussions from the parents and any actions taken such as speaking to parents.
It is not my responsibility to attempt to investigate the situation myself – therefore this will not be done.
The use of mobile phones and cameras
Mobile phones are an everyday part of life for parents and childminders and with that in mind have laid out my procedure for their use:
I will have a separate mobile phone in due course for work purposes, this is so that photos that have been authorised for me to take cannot get confused with my personal photos etc. I will always ensure my mobile phone is fully charged and with me at all times in case of emergencies, I will ensure the numbers of minded children’s parents are in the mobile in case I need to dial it quickly.
I have the facility to take photographs on my mobile phone and will seek your permission to take any photographs of your child to record activities and share their progress with you. Written permission will be required from parents or carers.
Any photographs taken will be deleted after either emailing to you or printed for use in your child’s learning journey. I will not publish any photographs of your child on any social networking sites/websites or share with any other person without your permission. If you do not approve of the pictures being used they will be used purely for recording your child’s journey.
I request that you do not use your mobile phone whilst dropping off and collecting your child/children. Any visitors to the setting will also be asked not to use their mobile phone.
If your child has a mobile phone, games console etc with camera facilities that they wish to bring into the setting please let me know. This is so that we can work together for the safety of all children in attendance and ensure appropriate access to material when using the internet.